Sunday, September 25, 2005

Librarians Unite for Banned and Challenged Books Week!

From September 25-October 1st Libraries around the world observe Banned Books Week. You can thank Librarians for stopping many challenged books from ever becoming banned! During this week we emphasize the importance of books that have been baned and the cultural significance of this activity. Deck your halls with banned and challenged books. A great activity for middle school would be a reading group focusing on a banned book of their choice and a discussion with refreshments. The librarian can discuss why do the children think that the book was banned and the importance of intellectual freedom.

Top Ten Banned Books from 2004

Here is the ALA's list of top ten banned or challenged books from 2004. It should be noted that the ALA has an Office of Intellectual Freedom where people can go to when a book in their library has been challenged. They provide a kit for those who have been challenged and protocol to follow in the event that should come up. Never just accept a challenge, it needs to be addressed through the right channels. Usually the librarian will try to speak to the parent for example first explain that there are other books that their child can be directed to if they are upset with something rather than taking away someone else's right to the offensive material. Then if they are still upset you can ask that they right a formal letter of complaint to the principal. Often they won't take the matter further if they feel their concerns have been addressed. Sometimes they do follow up and then it falls in the hands of the administration. But if your library has a protocol for this type of thing and the reasons why your books have been chosen, you have covered all your bases. The rest would then be left to the administration.

"The Chocolate War" for sexual content, offensive language, religious viewpoint, being unsuited to age group and violence

"Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers, for racism, offensive language and violence

"Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture" by Michael A. Blacklist, for inaccuracy and political viewpoint

Captain Underpants series by Dav piles, for offensive language and modeling bad behavior

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, for homosexuality, sexual content and offensive language

"What My Mother Doesn't Know" by Sonya son's, for sexual content and offensive language

"In the Night Kitchen" by Maurice sends, for nudity and offensive language

"King & King" by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, for homosexuality

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, for racism, homosexuality, sexual content, offensive language and unsuited to age group

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck, for racism, offensive language and violence

Top 20 Banned or Challenged Books of all Time

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Catcher in the Rye, JD
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Ulysses, James Joyce
Beloved, Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1984, George Orwell
The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner
Lolita, Vladmir Nabokov
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
Charlotte's Web, EB White
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway

Why and Who??

People ban or try to ban books for various different reasons. They may feel that the content is inappropriate for children of a certain age group, has bad language, or because of religious beliefs. What is so infuriating is that it is fine if they don't want to read something but to protest and try to ban a book from a public or school library and take away someone else's freedom to access the material is an infringement of the First Amendment.
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty.

Who:Throughout history, more and different kinds of people and groups of all persuasions than you might first suppose, who, for all sorts of reasons, have attempted—and continue to attempt—to suppress anything that conflicts with or anyone who disagrees with their own beliefs

Top 20 Banned Books 1990-2000

The top ten banned books from 1990-2000:

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Forever by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Giver by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sex by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

First Time Blogging!

Today is my first time blogging! When pondering what I thought might be an interesting topic of discussion for my pretend future library students, I thought about Intellectual Freedom. While researching this topic last year for a term paper I really became passionate about Intellectual Freedom and wanted people to understand more about it and what they can do to protect their rights as readers, learners and expressionists.

Intellectual Freedom is the worst type of cencorship! The freedom to read is constantly under attack. There are many people who want to remove or limit acccess to materials in libraries, that they may find obejectionable. What we read is protected by the First Amendment and we must all fight to preserve this right! On this Blog I will be talking about banned books, recent court cases and ways people are fighting for their rights. To read more about this topic from the ALA please go to the following